Announcing the 2014 Grant Recipients

By the deadline in August 2014 IRC had received 21 outstanding grant proposals from leading universities around the world in response to the most recent RFP. While last year’s grant recipients, Steven Colburn (Boston University, USA) & Theo Goverts (VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam) and Gitte Keidser & Virginia Best (National Acoustic Laboratories, Australia) were focussing on research in the field of Perception of dynamic spatial listening scenarios, the 2014 RFP focuses on Neurodegeneration: Perceptual Consequences and Quantification in Human Subjects.

IRC is very pleased to announce that the 2014 Grant recipients are Prof. John Grose, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Dr. Elizabeth Beach, PhD, National Acoustic Laboratories, Australia.

John Grose is Professor at the department of Otolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery, and his work will focus on characterizing auditory neurodegeneration in humans, combining basic psychoacoustic measurements with electrophysiological measurements.

“There is increasing evidence that noise exposure can result in permanent hearing changes even if the ability to detect quiet sounds remains intact”, Dr John Grose says - “This project looks specifically at whether regular attendance at loud music venues is associated with a compromised ability to discern audible sounds over the long term. I am very enthusiastic be working with the IRC on this project, as we consider this study an important next step in our understanding of the perceptual consequences of hearing loss and aging”.

The project will be undertaken in the Hearing Research Laboratory at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which has a distinguished history of studying human auditory function using both behavioral and electrophysiological tests.

Elizabeth Beach is a Research Psychologist at NAL, and her work will focus at addressing outcomes of a potential target group of noise exposed workers, in combination with basic auditory assessments. Elizabeth says: “It was such a great topic for the IRC to initiate a request on, and it was a topic that we had already been thinking about a lot. We're very much looking forward to the study and reaching a better understanding of the nature of hidden hearing loss."

Both projects look at the so-called ‘hidden hearing loss’ being an implication of degeneration of neurons in the auditory fibers, due to noise exposure. The term ‘hidden hearing loss’ refers to the fact that it is not obvious from an audiogram, that hearing has deteriorated (significantly), but speech understanding in noise is severely reduced.

“Once again we are very pleased to have received so many excellent proposals from universities all around the world. We know it takes a big effort to prepare such applications, and we want to express our thankfulness to all applicant for their contribution,” said Joel Beilin, 2014-2015 Chair of the IRC.

Published on: 02/05/2015